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Remember the First Time ?

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     For thousands of students and their families in our area the start of a new school year brings a wave of emotions.  For parents with students heading into middle school or high school there can be relief.  The household gets back to a more regimented schedule, unless of course, your child is involved in athletics or other after-school events and activities.  But for those with children going to school fo the first time there can be a lot of extra stress and concerns.  Do you remember your first day of school ?  I do.  I grew up in the country in a time when very few went to pre-school or kindergarten.  Those who did generally lived in town.  For those of us in rural areas, going to kindergarten meant that someone had to either take you or pick you up and that meant valuable time taken away from chores on the farm.  So, day one in first grade was it. THE BIG DAY !   My Mom and a neighbor had the whole thing planned out.  Our neighbor had a son who also was going to first grade but had a different teacher than me.  She also had an older daughter in the sixth grade.  Fine.  The daughter would show us around, help us get settled and calm any fear we had about this whole thing.  Our bus stop was about a quater mile from our house.  The ride to school was 12 miles and took about a half hour.  You have to remember that back in the 50′s and 60′s there were no school tours or teacher introductions like there are in many schools now.  I had no idea what our teacher looked like or anything about the school.  Our neighbor’s daughter was very kind (as much as a sixth-grader stuck with dealing with her younger brother and his friend could be).  I remember holding onto my lunch box on the bus making sure no one was going to get my chipped, chopped ham sandwiches or Mom’s fresh chocolate chip cookies.  As we pulled into the school parking lot and the bus came to a stop our neighbor’s daughter took her brother’s hand and my hand and said “we’re here, let’s go”.  She led us up to the second floor of the school  and marched us down the hallway from one end  to the other.  As we stopped  she let go of my hand and gave me a shove towards the open classroom door. ” That’s your room” she yelled to me.  Looking across the hall she gave her brother a shove into the other open classroom ” that’s yours” she yelled to him.  And then she was gone.  She had friends to see.  That was it !   At six years of age her brother and I were on our own.  As I timidly made my way a little further into the room I saw 20 other kids already there.  The room was spinning.  Panic was setting in.  Then, I heard that voice.  Authoritative, yet calming.  “Roger, Roger…. I’m Mrs. Wood.  Welcome !”  How did she know who I was ?  She knew my name.  How did she do that ?  And then I looked down at the front of my shirt.  For the first time I saw it.  My name pinned to the front of my shirt.  My Mom did that before I left that morning.  Mom saved the day again !  Hopefully, your boy or girl will have it a little easier this week.  Oh…and Mom don’t forget that name on the front of the shirt .

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